Archive for July, 2011

The structure of success

July 25, 2011

Go hard or go home!

Success is a continuous journey to better ourselves, overcome our limitations and work towards our goals and aspirations.  There are no shortcuts; the journey requires perseverance, patience and constant work to lead the life we really want.

I’m amazed at the number of people who consistently fail to take action over many years and then wake up one morning and expect it all to happen immediately. They run around looking for the secret to success and expecting it to be easy. It doesn’t work that way.

It’s easy to spend time talking about making changes to your life. It’s good to talk and articulate what you should do, but the real test is whether you’re prepared to take action. Sometimes you just have to start. Try, fail, try again, have a small win, build on it; it will take time, usually years, so don’t allow yourself to be discouraged. The good news is that it’s never too late to start.

Success is not something that you can have just when you feel like it. Success requires discipline and regularity. Discipline is the motivation to continue doing the right thing – after a while it becomes a habit, a way of life, and you enjoy the benefits.

Success is exponential. The more you experience it the more you get. The first requirement is a desire for something better. Even if our goals and dreams are very modest, it is vital to have something to aim for. Try writing down a list of five items you would like to improve and give them priority in your life.

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What’s luck got to do with it?

July 21, 2011

 

Good luck or good management?

The choices you make directly influence your results.  Which means success comes down to deciding what you want and then taking focused and consistent action towards it. Luck has very little to with it.

Some people make choices to be CEOs. Others make choices to do what they do. There’s no good or bad luck either way … there’s just living out those choices. Being a CEO or business owner is not for everyone, and that’s fine: people have diverse goals, aspirations and interests.

However, anyone can run into trouble if they set goals they ‘must’ achieve to be successful. The problem is wanting something but not doing anything about it. This is called dreaming, or waiting for success to find you. Often for such people, others’ success must only have been through good luck.

Successful people don’t require luck; they create success through positivity. They do whatever it takes to be in the right place, prepared, at the right time, as often as possible.

Persistence is a key; success doesn’t often present itself on the first try.

But some don’t see all that, they just see the results of others through envious eyes.

Successful people seek out opportunities that align with their goals. Once they find these opportunities they pursue them relentlessly. If opportunities don’t present, successful people create them.  What’s luck got to do with that?

Time and white space

July 12, 2011

white time

In an earlier series of posts we explored why time appears to pass quicker with each year. Time seems to fly by and we feel the pressure to accomplish more in less time.

For many of us, time is a commodity. We talk about using time, buying time, saving time, spending time or wasting time. We’re experiencing a time compression effect that makes us think we’ve less time to do the things we want to do. This contributes to more stress and less space for recreational activities. We have no white space in our lives, with every minute accounted for.

We mistakenly try to save time by eliminating the activities that add meaning to our lives: time spent on hobbies, leisure pursuits and even family. No white space for anything meaningful.

The cult of productivity dominates our work culture.  The philosophy of productivity is to do things we don’t enjoy doing as quickly and efficiently as possible, in order to have more time for what we do enjoy. But strangely enough, the upshot is that we actually spend less time enjoying life.

Treating time like a commodity doesn’t create white space, but mindfulness does.

When we’re completely in the now, we have no awareness of time. When you’re doing something, especially something you enjoy, remove the guilt and thoughts of what else you should be doing. Allow yourself this mental time out Be present, with a clear mind and an appreciation of  now, life and the spaces between.

The quest for space

July 4, 2011

 

The quest for white space

Finding available market space in a sea of complexity and clutter is a difficult skill to acquire. We’re programmed to see what’s there, not what isn’t – unlike, say, artists, who are trained to see and appreciate positive and negative space at the same time.

Business people need to think in the same way when looking at their markets. A new market or ‘white’ space is the key to growing your business. Going head to head with competitors and fighting over the same turf is not, unless you have a killer competitive advantage.

In Blue Ocean Strategy the authors refer to this as uncontested market space – finding a segment of the market that is new or different and tailoring an offer to fill it. Dell did it with direct- to-customer computers and Amazon with books.

What offerings are missing from your market? A good idea is to look at the market and see what people are doing and then design a product or service to help them – so-called needs-based innovation. Most businesses start with a product or idea and then hope to find a market for it. Some ideas are brilliant but never sell.

Instead, find out what your customers want and give it to them.